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23 November 2009

Snoozer (Day 13)

On a day like today where I have so much to do before we leave for our Thanksgiving extravaganza in the Pacific Northwest, I am especially thankful for naptime.  And, a naptime without any fussing at that!

19 November 2009

Al Gore Invented the Internet (Day 12)

This past week, my parents and I have been Skype-ing a little more than usual. Of course, something is wrong with their web cam, so it's a little one-sided, but the main purpose is still accomplished -- they have a chance to see Olivia in action. It's been so much fun laying the laptop down on the family room floor and having her crawl from one side of the room to the other and then listening to my parents shriek with excitement. (So, yeah, I guess I do kind of wish I could also see their facial expressions.)

Anyway, it got me thinking about how fortunate we are to live in a time where technology is so amazing. We can click on a button on our computer and Olivia's grandparents can watch her crawl in real time from 568 miles away. That's just crazy. And, such a blessing. I wish I may, I wish I might, have my parents over each night, BUT, if that can't happen, this is a pretty good replacement.

So, today I am thankful for all of the modern technologies that we have that allow us all to keep tabs on each other so much more easily - facebook, blogs, instant messaging, cell phones, email, and the internets (Oh, DubYa, I kinda miss having you to make fun of).

So, in honor of that, check out this little ditty:

*You'll hear me say "no" to Olivia for what appears to be no logical reason, but I wanted to show you, internets, that little stinker's face when I tell her not to do something. And, please, for the love of God, turn your speakers down so you don't have to hear my voice on camera! (And, if the video hasn't shown up, just click on the "She Talks, She Crawls" title and it will take you to the vimeo site and you can view the video there.)

She Talks, She Crawls! from Amanda Michelson on Vimeo.

18 November 2009

Girls Night In (Day 11)

Even though my friend Michele only lives a little over an hour away, it's really hard jiving our schedules with her work schedule to try and get together.  She had the day off today and made the trek up to spend the afternoon and evening with us.  It was great having some girl time tonight and we were even able to squeeze in a little living room dance party before she had to leave.

I know I blogged about the new friends that we've made, but I'm eternally grateful that I have a little piece of home out here with me.

17 November 2009

Baby Love (Day 10)

Today, Olivia turns seven months old. SEVEN MONTHS. Do you know what that means (besides the fact that I should be at my pre-pregnancy weight by now)??? That means that she is closer to being a one year old than she is to being a newborn. Newsflash: Me no likey! This has gone way too fast. But, I have loved every minute of it. Even when she's cried. Even when she's had poop explosions. Even when she's had projectile vomit. And, even when she's woken up every hour on the hour during the middle of the night, I have loved it all.

Today, I'm thankful for Olivia and for the fact that I've been able to be at home with her each day watching her grow and change.

Oh yeah, I'm also thankful for tights!!

Oh No He Didn't

So, I'm thinking that there's a certain someone in this household that's a little jealous of Olivia.  I've seen hints of it in the past seven months.  (Again, SEVEN MONTHS, really?!)  He likes to get right down on the ground while we're playing with her or he'll jump up on my lap while I'm nursing her, but today?  Today, he pushed the limits.

After lunch, I got Olivia all dressed, got our blanket and hats ready, and headed outside with the camera to take some birthday pictures.  And, here's pretty much how that went, from Olivia's perspective:

Yay - Magnum's coming over!

I love it when Magnum is around!

Wait, where did he go?

Um, Magnum?  Magnum, what are you doing?


Oh Magnum, have you no shame?

Mom, why did he do that?

We promptly moved spots in the yard.  I'm sorry, but the only phrase going through my head is, "That Little Shit!"

16 November 2009

Welcome to the World, Baby Noah! (Day 9)

The day we brought Olivia home from the hospital, David's cousin (am I allowed to say and my personal favorite?) called us to congratulate us on our new addition and also to announce that she and her equally amazing husband were expecting a little bambino of their own come November.  Well, HELLO November and welcome Baby Noah!

I have spent several hours stalking Brianna and filling her head with all of my personal beliefs on which baby products are good and which ones are flops.  This morning, I pulled out my phone to text her and ask if she was having any contractions and stopped myself because I remembered how my dad checked on me EVERY HOUR the week they were out here before Olivia was born, and not that it wasn't great, but it was a total bummer to say, "Noooo, nothing yet."  Well, lo and behold if I didn't check on facebook a few hours later and see that Brianna Reina Showell was a mom!!!!  I swear I probably checked facebook 20 times today waiting for pictures, stats, ANYTHING.  Not to mention, I'm pretty sure I filled Brianna's inbox with way too many text messages to even be considered a normal member of her family.  (Sorry Bari, but I was just sooooooo excited!)

Anyway, without further ado, here is the newest addition to our extended family:  Noah Showell, born November 15th at 10:43pm, weighing 8 pounds 5 ounces and measuring 19.25 inches.  He is absolutely adorable and already sporting way more hair than his cousin Olivia.

Yes, Brianna, he IS cute as a button!

David must have told Michael how awesome that pose is!

Such a sweet moment.

And, as if my cousin-in-law didn't have enough on her plate being a Craft Goddess, working at Nike and becoming a new mom, she's started a side project as an image consultant.  You can check out her new endeavor here.  Because, seriously, who wouldn't want to take style tips from this knock-out?!

So, OBVIOUSLY, today I am so so so thankful that our new baby cousin has arrived and is as perfect as can be.  And, I am doubly thankful that in just a little over a week, I will be able to stalk meet him in person and get my hands on a teeny tiny newborn!

Congratulations Michael and Brianna - you are in for the most amazing ride of your life.  A plethora of hugs and kisses to your beautiful little family.

15 November 2009

After a Few Days Off, Come to Find Out I'm Still Thankful (Day 8)

The last four days have been incredibly busy.  I have made a trip up to San Luis Obispo every single day.  And, even though it's only a 30 minute drive, when you factor in taking a baby with you and getting the nap/feeding timing down, it can make it a lot more difficult.  (Is that a good enough excuse for missing a few days?)

Friday night, we had our friends Ken and Katie come over for dinner and it reminded me that I am thankful for the new friends that we've made since we've moved out here.

Yep, that's the best I can do.

It was really difficult at first to meet people since I wasn't working and David works from home.  We've been fortunate to meet some really great people and have been blessed with wonderful neighbors.  We spent Saturday with our photographers, Daniel and his beautiful wife Laura, and they are just FABULOUS, FABULOUS people.  And, today, our neighbors loaned me their car so I could take another trip up to SLO while David was using our car.

I am truly thankful to the lovely people of the central coast who have shown me that it's not just midwesterners who can be warm and fuzzy.

11 November 2009

Hug a Veteran (Day 7)

As today is Veterans Day, I am extremely thankful to those men and women who have served (and are currently serving) in the armed forces.  I think in a time of war when we hear about casualties on a daily basis, it's especially important to not only remember those who are serving, but the families of those as well.

Today, I am proud to honor my father, who joined the Air Force at the age of 18 and served from February of 1966 until January of 1970.  He was sent to Vietnam in 1969 and was stationed at Phan Rang Air Force Base as a Fuels Specialist for a year.

My handsome father advanced to the rank E-4 Sergeant.

I am also proud to remember my grandfather today who served in the US Army and fought during World War II.

My pappaw (and those adorable cheeks) was an ambulance driver in Europe.

David is not here for me to confirm, but I am pretty sure that his father, Peter, served in the Korean War as well.

A huge thank you to all veterans, but especially those in my immediate circle, for giving up your time and risking your lives to serve our country.

10 November 2009

Bow Wow Wow Yippee Yo Yippee Yay (Day 6)

This morning, Olivia, Magnum and I went for our daily walk and I ran into one of our neighbors across the street. The last time we saw him, he was telling us about his Bull Mastiff, Lulu, and how she wasn't doing very well. When I asked about her this morning, he told me that they had to put her down a couple weeks ago. We got into a long discussion about how pets become a huge part of your family. And for the rest of the day, I've held Magnum a little closer to me.

David and I got Magnum almost 3 years ago from my friend Jill. We fostered him for her when Hurricane Katrina hit and pretty much destroyed everything she and her husband had and she had to move back to Indiana with her parents. But, sadly when she left back for Mississippi, she took Magnum with her. When she returned to Indiana again when her husband was deployed to Kuwait, David and I gladly brought Magnum back into our homes.

Up until Olivia was born, Magnum was our baby. (He still is our baby, he's just not the number one baby!)

He's traveled just about everywhere with us, has a bed in every room, and spends most nights in bed with us. While he's pretty low-maintenence, we have had our fair share of vet visits - two leg breaks, a few pulled teeth, and a couple of burns on his side, but he is worth every penny!  Even though he is extremely bony, he is a total cuddlebug.  He radiates heat which is perfect for those chilly nights.  I know he doesn't particulary enjoy being bumped from the number one position, but he does a pretty good job of letting Olivia torture him.  Most people don't know that Magnum went in to my classroom with me and basically changed the life of one of my biggest trouble-makers. I had a student who constantly picked fights with other kids, refused to do any work, and would just sit and talk aloud in an attempt to disrupt the entire class.  When Magnum was in the room, however, that same student participated, helped others, and became a true pleasure to be around.   And, if that's not enough to make you all jealous of our fabulous dog (soooo not the intention of this thankful blog), what other dog would let us parade him around in random costumes??

So, today, I'm thankful that my dear friend Jill let us take a dog as special as Magnum from her and make him a part of our family.

09 November 2009

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words (Day 5)

Today, and every day, I am thankful for chocolate.

Seriously, need I say more?

08 November 2009

Good Day Sunshine (Day 4)

First off, I'm thankful that no one got on my case for missing yesterday's day of thanks. But, today, I am especially thankful for the beautiful weather we have been having always have. David's been out of town this weekend and Olivia has started crawling. And, by crawling, I mean GETTING IN TO EVERYTHING! How's that for timing, Lauren?

Anyway, the best way for me to keep her contained is to strap her in to her exersaucer, her high chair, or her stroller. We've gone for two hour-long walks this weekend and soaked up as much sun as possible. As much as I miss Indiana, I am truly thankful that we have beautiful weather year-round and can be outside enjoying it on a daily basis.

I LOVE that smile!!

I'm especially thankful that Olivia is enjoying walks a lot more. It was only three months ago (look at how little she was) that this picture was taken. We had driven to the local Farmer's Market and Olivia, Magnum and I were going to walk back while David stayed behind to work out. We got about 2 blocks away before Olivia was SCREAMING to get out of the stroller. So, I ended up carrying her the 2 miles home and pushing the stroller with all of our produce in it. Thank goodness that hasn't happened since!

06 November 2009

To Market, To Market (Day 3)

Last night, David and I headed up to San Luis Obispo for their weekly Farmer's Market.  Each time we go up there, I am absolutely blown away.  The city blocks off about 6 blocks for the market and there vendors lining both sides of the streets.  You can get just about anything there - meats, fish, nuts, dried fruit, honey, flowers, and just about any fruit or vegetable you can think of.  And the foods are locally grown and almost all organic.  David and I definitely have our favorite people to purchase from too.

Farmer's is a ton of fun because it's always packed with people and there are different bands who play on the side streets each week.  And besides all the wonderful fresh foods, this Farmer's Market also has restaurants selling delicious foods like tri-tip sandwiches, bbq chicken, roasted corn and veggie burritos.  Last night, we discovered the dessert booth that Eclair Bakery had set up where they make hot, fresh mini donuts.  HOW DID WE NOT KNOW THEY WERE THERE EARLIER?!  After devouring a dozen (c'mon, they are super small), we went back for another dozen to go.

We are so blessed to be able to get fresh fruits and vegetables in such a fun atmosphere each week.  And, if we don't feel like heading up to SLO on Thursday nights, Nipomo's Farmer's Market on Sundays is just around the corner....if only we could get Eclair Bakery to bring that donut machine down here.

Donuts or not, where else could you get these gorgeous flowers for $7?!

05 November 2009

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Longest Blog Post Ever (A Picture Book)

On the last leg of our flight home, David and I did an A to Z chronicling of our nine day trip back to the Great Midwest. And, here, my friends, are all 26 volumes of our trip.

A - For sure, this has to be the new Indianapolis Airport! Oh my gosh - David and I felt like we were in a completely different state (until David pointed out the t-shirts for sale in the shops that said "Nothing Tips Like a Cow"). It is absolutely beautiful and has so many cute shops in it. The only thing missing is our favorite grab-and-go food from the Kolache Factory. Ha ha, on the way back to the airport on Monday, we drove to the OLD airport location (about 5 miles short of the new one) without even thinking! I guess some things have changed since we've been gone.

B - David had some business in Elkhart on Thursday, so when he was finished with his meetings, we drove the short 15 miles over to South Bend and toured Notre Dame (where David's dad got his MBA). Olivia fell asleep on her first official college visit (is anyone here really surprised at that?) and so I stayed in the car while David toured the gorgeous Basilica on campus. I'm sure the pictures he took don't do it justice.

C - Considering we were in TWO different cities both with the name Columbus, our "C" could stand for no other (except, the Caldwell family minus one, would work here too). It was so amazing to spend Sunday and Monday in Columbus, Indiana, my hometown. My two great aunts from Versailles came up and spent a couple hours at my parents' homebase - the Caldwell's house - and friends of mine from their neighborhood also stopped by. Olivia had her first little playdate with my friend Jessica's little baby girl, Emily - which was just hysterical to watch. And, yes, Olivia was totally jealous of all of her hair! In Columbus, Ohio, my aunt and uncle from the Cincinnati came over and got to meet Olivia for the first time. It was great to see both of them - and we really appreciated the effort they made to come see us.

Olivia had a great time tormenting playing with Emily!

D - One of the people I was most looking forward to seeing was my friend, Diann. I taught with her for two years and she became my Indianapolis mom and my very good friend. I spent the first Friday night with her, her husband Mike, and her daughter Kelsey (who came all the way down from that other Indiana school where they wear black and gold). You know you have good friends when it feels like you can just pick up right where you left off and that's exactly how it was when I got there. She had a glass of Rosemount Merlot ready to be poured and my favorite stuffed green peppers in the oven. David and I also went back over on Saturday night to hang out with them again because, honestly, one night was just not enough. Did I mention that she also had a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for me?

Complete craziness.

E - We put eleven hundred and two miles on the Buick Enclave rental car over the course of 9 days. And, yeah, I would say that I drove all but about eighty of those miles. I do enjoy driving long drives, especially those where you can just zone out, but on Thursday I drove from Columbus, Ohio to Elkhart, Indiana and I swear we hit every single small town that Ohio and Indiana had to offer. We weren't on any same stretch of road for more than 45 miles so I really had to concentrate, but the drive was still absolutely gorgeous.

F - I should probably dedicate an entire post on how fabulous it was to see our friends and family. We were able to see my two great aunts, my aunt and uncle, my parents, close family friends, past colleagues and friends. I love living out here in California and it is starting to feel more like home, but I truly truly MISS my friends and family back in Indiana. (It was such a bummer that there were a handful of people we didn't get to see. I PROMISE that my next trip home you will be my first people to visit!)

Okay, how photogenic is my Aunt Patty??!!??

My Uncle Hank lifting Olivia up. Nana was starting to get worked up over that!

The apple doesn't fall far....

My friend Andrew/former neighbor. He had never held a baby before!!!

G - David and I were fortunate enough to be able to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's waterfront condo up in Cicero during our stay in the Indianapolis area. It was so wonderful to have plenty of room, a sink and a washer and dryer right there for us. Do you know how many bibs of Olivia's I washed out in hotel sinks?!

H - Considering we always overpack, I really tried to pack as lightly as possible this trip -- which meant, leaving my hairdryer at home because most hotels have a decent one. However, I neglected to think about the hairdryer situation at Grandma and Grandpa's condo. THIS is what I had to work with. Thank goodness about half of my hair has fallen out since having Olivia or it would have taken me longer than the 25 minutes than it did take me to dry my hair.

I - David and I spent the first Sunday and Monday in Columbus and since my parents no longer have a house there, we checked into the new hotel downtown, Hotel Indigo. David splurged and checked us into the Presidential Suite where former President Bill Clinton stayed. The hotel has a really contemporary feel, was totally roomy, and had an awesome little restaurant downstairs. The hotel dog, Miles, was pretty stinkin' cute too.

We slept on the same bed that Bill Clinton slept on!!

Olivia is "blown away" by the fact that her rear is in the same chair that Bill Clinton's was!

J - After our trade show in Columbus, Ohio, we took a stroll through the Short North with my parents and my aunt and uncle and dined on coney dogs and cheeseburgers at a little dive restaurant and then had dessert at Jeni's, an awesome little ice cream shop. They had some insane flavors - Bourbon Buttered Pecan, Gravel Road, Rootbeer (it tasted JUST like rootbeer), and Heirloom Pumpkin 5-Spice. Mom and I went for the Salty Carmel and David went for Pistachio and Honey Vanilla Bean. Such a cute little shop and such delicious flavors!

K - HELLO! Karaoke party in the car. Ohio radio stations LOVE 80's Power Ballads and I thoroughly loved singing along to them. Seriously, I heard Livin On a Prayer by Bon Jovi 3 times in the same day.

L - Even though I sort of complained a little when we got off the plane because my flip-flop wearing feet were freezing, I was really glad that we went back to Indiana in October. The leaves were just to die for.

M - While we were on our trip, Olivia learned to say Mama. She may not know what it actually means, but I don't give a hoot. I LOVE hearing her say Mamamamama! Papa's a little jealous, but...

N - Before I met David, I never listened to NPR, but quickly became addicted. There's just something soothing about Steve Inskeep's voice in the morning that makes mornings a little easier to handle. Out here, we only get a few hours of NPR, so it was a pure pleasure to go back to Indiana and listen to NPR on 90.1 ANYTIME we got into the car!

O - Olin and Olivia sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! Olin is my friend Cole's 15 month old baby boy and he is just tooo cute for words. (Yes, she's that Cole, the one where Olivia's middle name comes from.) We spent our second Sunday afternoon and evening hanging out with Cole and her husband, The Good Doctor, and Olin in their beautiful new house mansion in Meridian-Kessler. It was so great catching up with Cole and swapping baby stories. Cole is pregnant with #2 and the last time I saw her she had that same fabulous belly with little Olin inside. Olin and Olivia had a great time playing together - Olin was so sweet with her. Cole, we definitely have to plan a little Mommy and Baby getaway soon!

So sweet - he shared all of his toys with her and was giving her kisses!

Big Cole, meet Little Cole.

P - Now it wouldn't be Halloween with the Michelsons if we didn't get Magnum dressed up, would it? No Superman this year, Magnum was a good ol' Halloween Pumpkin.

Look at that mischievous face?!

Q - Would you believe that there were TWO Quinn's on our trip? The first belongs to my very good friend, Tara and her husband, Cash. They met up with us in Columbus on our first Sunday in town. Quinn was born six weeks ahead of Olivia, so it was awesome during our pregnancy and then once the babies were born to exchange stories and to see what I should be expecting. Up until that Sunday, we had only seen pictures, so it was great seeing the real deal in person and being able to get our hands on each other's babies. Quinn is so adorable and is just as laid-back as can be. I wish that we lived closer to each other so that our two little babies could grow up together. The second Quinn belongs to my favorite eye doctor in the whole world. (See letter V) We didn't get to meet him, but we saw tons of pictures of that cute little guy!

Could he be any cuter?

The Moter family.

R - Well, it wouldn't be a Michelson trip if it didn't involve indulging in some chain restaurants. When David and I drove into Noblesville, our minds were racing with what we were going to eat first. Chick-Fil-A was the winner of that battle, but never fear that Cracker Barrel, Texas Roadhouse, Qdoba and Culver's were all visited as well. We even passed a Rax and sooo wanted to stop by, but it was breakfast time. Cheeseburger in Paradise - you'll have to wait until next year!

Check out Olivia going after my Roadhouse Ribs!

Did anyone know that these still existed?

S - Since we spent an extra day in Columbus (instead of heading over to Bloomington), we were able to take Olivia out to Southside Elementary School where I taught for three years after graduating from college. I loved being able to see some of my former colleagues and introduce them to David and Olivia. There was even one student still there who I worked with when he was in kindergarten. Man, do I feel old!

T - Getting inspired by Lauren and Kiel and their adventures in hunting out dive restaurants, we spent the first evening in Columbus, Ohio at Thurman's Cafe which boasts about their special, The Thurmanator - 2 12-oz burgers, mayo, tomato, lettuce, pickle, hot pepper, bacon, cheddar, sauteed onion, mushroom, American and provolone cheese on a bun. None of us were brave enough to try it, but my dad and David both went for the Jumbo wings.

Leave it to a dirty dive restaurant for us to get a cute picture!

Olivia opted for giraffe instead of chicken wings!

U - We flew United this round and while the extra 5 inches of legroom we upgraded to were well worth it, the stewardess who made me take Olivia's poopy diaper back to my seat got me a little ticked off.

V - Due to non-friends/family members reading WAY too much into my blog and not appreciating it for what it is - a way to share pictures of Olivia and our adventures with people who don't get to see us all the time - the actual "V" portion has been removed.

W - Nothing makes me feel more at home in Indiana than turning on the radio to 92.3 WTTS. Sunday morning we drove down to Columbus and I was able to listen to OverEasy, one of my favorite programs. It totally reminds me of Sunday mornings working in the snack shack at The Fort Golf Course. I'm super excited because I just found out that you can listen to the radio online!

X - So, I was going to get Olivia a xylophone for Christmas, but after 5 minutes of listening to Olin bang on his, I seriously changed my mind!

Look at how cute her belly is!!

Y - (This one is a stretch), but YOU should have seen us with all of our luggage!

Going back to our car at the Santa Barbara airport looked a little something like this: Me, pulling two bags, carrying David's brief case, a dog duffel without a dog but holding a purse, and walking Magnum on his leash AND David with two large bags, wearing Olivia in the carrier, the diaper bag and the carseat and base. Yeah, we don't do anything easy!

Z - Ironically, two of my favorite restaurants in Columbus both start with Zs. On Sunday night, we ate at Zwanzig's and then on Monday afternoon we ate at the revamped Zaharako's. Zaharako's is an old fashioned fountain soda shop and ice cream parlor. We used to go there when I was a kid and it was getting pretty run-down. It has recently been renovated and is just absolutely amazing inside. Olivia kept true to her form and fell completely asleep during the entire visit - even when the giant organ started playing!

A huge thanks to my friend Trish for leaving work to come and see us at Zaharako's!